I would like to know your opinion on the heavy 80% discounts that are becoming so popular on MyFonts nowadays.
Did you ever do it? How did it affect the sales *after* the end of such a huge early promotion? Was it worth it? Would you do it again?
I don’t expect this trend to last long. Offering huge discounts leads customers to expect heavy discounts, and some simply stop buying anything at full price. Type design takes too much work to support without recurrent income. I also think that this trend has a lot to do with current type styles. It’s easy to poop out one more riff on Alternate Gothic or a bad geometric sans. But it’s hard to poop out something original and well-drawn.
The biggest discount that I have ever offered was 50% off. I sold as much after the sale at full price as I did with the sale.
I didn’t really expect my typeface to break in to the top 5 Hot New Fonts because it was somewhat specialized (and I didn’t offer it with a smaller character set), not to mention serif text faces don’t seem to sell as well. I could have discounted it to 80-90% and watched it soar to number 2 or 3 but I’d rather sell a few licenses to people that really liked the design and appreciated it than feed my ego.
So I don't think this strategy is necessarily a business model that favours companies with a large catalogue over boutique type designers, as Jackson suggests. I do think it might be an unsustainable model in the long term, though, because the more people who choose to launch their fonts in this way the lower the impact of such discounts in terms of marketing that leads to ongoing sales at the full price.
David, In the case of MyFonts, the price is set by the designer/foundry. I believe MyFonts has rules about sale pricing, in terms of how often and for low long sales may be in effect -- preventing what I think of as Persian carpet pricing after a shop in Vancouver that had 'Going Out of Business Sale' signs in its windows for twenty years --, but otherwise doesn't dictate these things. So I believe a standard MyFonts designer agreement would split the discounted price 50/50, just as it would the full retail price.
Though I’m assuming the font has something special to offer. If it doesn’t, then price IS the only possible differentiation, and the other choice becomes equally obvious. Q.E.D.
More broadly, I hate to think that the type specimen is a dying art. Aside from MyFonts, even some foundries that sell a lot of product have gotten increasingly perfunctory with their specimens. I've always liked that the Reading type-design program insists that its students make a quality type specimen. It can't be the worst thing in the world for type designers to know how to use their own product well.
While many of the fonts on the Hot New Fonts page certainly deserve to be there, I think the majority are just gaming the system and pushing full price fonts off the bottom of the chart. When I sell a few fonts at $30 a shot, I still can't manage to graze the bottom of the chart. Lucky for me, I don't give a flying fuck, but I don't know if a chart that can be gamed so easily has any value other than raking in cash.
There are so many beautiful fonts on the chart being sold for full price, it makes me wonder how many other beautiful fonts are hiding beneath the surface.
Jan, thanks for sharing those numbers; it's really helpful.
I've had a good response from at: www.theharrietseries.com
HVD, who did try that 80% thing with Pluto, made a fancy website for their latest release: http://www.hvdfonts.com/brandontext/
Also worth mentioning the Neue Haas Grotesk site, which is awesome: http://www.fontbureau.com/nhg/
I think most who want to "play" a file not of the web standard, go through two clicks to do so. Don't they? Word files, pdfs, anything compressed, and a great deal of video playing, would not happen from a single click.
Meanwhile, on topic, I think the dual rise of the conglomerate and the type designer who doesn't give a flying fuck, (Free, 90% off, $1.00, ten for a nickel, whatever!?), help trend the type designer's place back down to where it was in the late 70's.